In the tri-series against West Indies and South Africa, it took some time for AB de Villiers to crack a boundary. 91 balls to be precise. De Villiers’ drought of boundaries ended only in his third ODI of the series when he pulled a shortish delivery of Adam Zampa to the deep square leg boundary. The man who has the record of scoring the fastest 50, 100 and 150 to his name in ODIs had scored 54 runs in 91 balls across three matches without a boundary. No wonder South Africa failed to even make it to the finals of the Tri-series.
De Villiers’ boundary-less scores were a throwback to the yesteryears when boundary hunting wasn’t the obvious job of the batsmen as it is today in the era of T20. In fact, there are several batsmen who carved big knocks in ODIs without the ball reaching the ropes even once during their innings. In Tests, its the usual suspect Geoffrey Boycott who tops the list with a knock of 77 runs against Australia in 1978-79 that contained no boundaries but an all ran 4 runs. In ODIs, no one has managed a century without boundaries.
Ricky Ponting scored a single boundary in his ton against India at Bangalore in 2003. However, the towering seven sixes pretty much compensated for the lack of the 4s in the innings.
Let’s take a look at 5 ODI knocks where batsmen scored big runs without a single boundary in the innings
#5 JP Duminy 71 off 93 vs Australia, 2009
The match is remembered for Albie Morkel’s jailbreak innings of 40 off 18 when he hit 4 biggies and a boundary to pull off a thrilling three-wicket win for South Africa in the first ODI of their series against Australia. However, Morkel’s fireworks took the attention away from JP Duminy’s uncharacteristic knock where the left-hander failed to find a single boundary throughout the innings.
The batsman was coming off a stellar debut Test series where he had starred in one of the biggest chases ever in Perth Test before scoring 166 at Melbourne to give South Africa a historic series win.
Chasing a stiff target of 272, Duminy came at the fall of second wicket and looked still to be in Test mode. The batsmen’s cause wasn’t helped by the fact that he was playing on one of the biggest cricket grounds in the world – the MCG. He completed his 50 without even threatening the boundary ropes and it was only after his fifty that one of his shot seemed to be on its way to touch the boundary ropes. Hussey played spoilsport and cut it off.
When a tired Duminy eventually got out for a well crafted 71 off 93 balls, he had managed 3 runs thrice, but could never hunt down the boundary ropes. This remains only one of the two half centuries in the last ten years to haven’t featured a single four.